A Cursed Goldmine and Greed

Alberta Wild Rose by Mary M. Forbes

Gold fever creates monsters but in the case of the Lost Lemon Mine a curse has been placed on it more dangerous. Alberta Rose O’Neil escapes her mother’s control to visit her father in the west. Not superstitious, she doesn’t believe in the curse. She joins a group to find the legendary mine and sees the evilness reigning at the site.

From a sheltered upbringing to confronting the dangers of life, she must learn how to survive in chaos as well as the realities that exist in her new life.

She discovers Dale, their guide, is not her Knight in Shining Armor as she believed. But can she find the strength to resist his potent charm?  Available on Amazon.

A Canadian Legend

Flat prairies give way to rolling foothills with mysterious mountains looming up.  White capped and covered in hazy blue, the mountains hide secrets that are tangible in the air.  Canada is considered to be a new, vibrant country, but there are many unexplained complexities in those shadowy mountains especially. Searching for gold has always created men and women who lose sight of right and wrong. The obsession of gold brings out the best and worst in many.

The Canadian Blue Rockies have gold, hidden and often difficult to find.  Much of the gold hasn’t been discovered even today. Somewhere in the Canadian Rockies, in or around Crowsnest Pass in Southern Alberta there is rumored to be more gold than was found in the Klondike of the Yukon.

Two men, Blackjack and Jack Lemon, found gold and decided to go register their claim before someone else found it.  Jack was struck with gold-fever and didn’t want to share.  In a fit of greed, Jack killed his partner, splitting him open with his ax.

Two Indian braves, from the Blackfoot tribe of Southern Alberta, witnessed the gruesome killing. They rushed back to tell their chief.  The Chief placed a curse on the gold. ‘Whoever touches the gold will suffer dire consequences’.

Jack Lemon became crazy, wandering around the foothills, searching for the mine. Others searched and fought to gain possession of Jack’s map. They too were found dead, burned to death or driven mad. To this day, no one has found that gold in the Lost Lemon Mine and lived to tell the story.

Alberta Wild Rose: first a romance, starts with a group trying to find this legendary mine.  Alberta Rose O’Neil escapes her mother’s control to visit her father in the west. Not superstitious, she doesn’t believe in the curse. She joins a group to find the legendary mine and sees the evilness reigning at the site.

From a sheltered upbringing to confronting the dangers of life, she must learn how to survive in chaos as well as the realities that exist. She discovers Dale, their guide, is not her Knight in Shining Armor as she believed. But can she find the strength to resist his potent charm?

Mary M. Forbes: – raised in the middle of nowhere, Saskatchewan, has traveled extensively all over North America.  She has chosen Calgary, the New West, in Alberta as her home.  She has written two contemporary and three Historical romances.  Working on two more contemporary romances that she plans to have out by June of 2015, she is also working on an inspirational suspense – Seraphim.

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Finding Fridays – The legend of the Lost Lemon Mine

A little History of the Canadian West 

Somewhere in the Canadian Rockies, probably in or around Crowsnest Pass there is rumored to be more gold than was found in the Klondike of the Yukon.

Two men, Blackjack and Jack Lemon, found it and decided to go register their claim.  That was before Jack was struck with gold-fever.  In a fit of greed, Jack killed his partner, splitting him open with his ax.

Lost Lemon Mine

Two Indian braves, from the Blackfoot tribe of Southern Alberta, witnessed the gruesome killing.  They rushed back to tell their chief.  The Chief placed a curse on the gold. ‘Whoever touches (some say finds it as well) the gold will suffer dire consequences’.

Sure enough, the curse was real.  Many men, including Jack Lemon, who became a maniac wandering around the prairies, searched for the mine and those men were found dead, burned to death or were driven mad. To this day, no one has found that gold of the Lost Lemon Mine and lived to tell the story.

Alberta Wild Rose, first a romance, takes place with a group trying to find this legendary mine including my sheltered heroine – Alberta Rose.

Alberta Wild Rose by Mary M. Forbes

Resources – Researching

I love researching.  When I was younger – I researched, just for the sake of researching.  I would hear something and it stemmed copious amounts of searching what topics fascinated me.

Mount Rushmore – my question – at the time this was being created – what was the Native reaction? That one question could stem a whole story.

Now, as I write, some research is not so fascinating.  Right now my latest work involves doing research on a coroners office and their duties.  I thought perhaps it was just in my mind – I enjoyed Crossing Jordan and Quincy  television dramas.  Unfortunately – although there is a lot of information I have – I need more.  It is a quirk – I must be accurate.  It may only be one paragraph – but regardless, it must be accurate.

Some people say they don’t like history.  I think that is too broad and general.  There has to be parts of the past that are interesting to everyone.

I started out Alberta Wild Rose by talking to another guy about all those abandoned gold mines (and there are many – British Columbia put out a map of real, true abandoned mines and ghost-towns).  Some you can reach by car and some you can’t.  That fascinated me as well. I wanted to reach the ones that couldn’t be seen by a vehicle.  The Lost Lemon mine started my story.  No one knows if it’s true or not.  There is the legend of the curse which seemed to play out – people who went insane or were killed in horrible ways – after claiming to touch the gold.  As a fiction, not a ‘theory’ article I was given free license to pursue beliefs combining real historical figures and as much fiction/ideas as I wanted.

There are just too many facets of history to be ignored.  Even when one considers modern illness and writes a piece it’s interesting to know where we came from and where we are now.  At one time it was believed that an epileptic attack was an indication a person was either ‘possessed’ or was insane.  What I find interesting about that historical fact – one would be religion – but one wasn’t.  So when I hear someone talk about the horrors religion did – I say – get your facts straight.  How we treat insanity – or in a epilepsy case,whether it is insanity or not, has nothing to do with religion.

When you do your research (necessary for even modern stories) examine all sides and form your own opinion – not someone else’s.  Enjoy – research is really one of the pleasant parts of writing.

Calgary – Just Outside the City

North of Calgary is the park-lands.  As you head towards Edmonton the countryside turns into trees and rolling-hills.  Among them are nestled numerous lakes with sandy beaches and campgrounds.

East of Calgary are the flat, barren plains with endless fields of grains to a dominating horizon.  With one surprising exception.  You are traveling along the overwhelming land when suddenly you drop into a canyon of awesome proportions.  You are in Drumheller, the foremost authority on the fascinating dinosaurs.   There you will find an huge, impressive interpretation center with fossils and information.  Go out and explore the cliffs and discover artifacts yourself.  Visit strange and unusual rock-formations and foliage that shouldn’t be there – but it is.

South of Calgary – my favorite.   The famous Fort McLeod North West Mounted musical ride and exploring a genuine fort – the place where the famous RCMP first arrived.  Just north of Fort McLeod is another huge interpretation center – Head Smash ’em In Buffalo Jump (seriously).  This is where you can see native culture in its’ fullest – right back to a time when they didn’t have horses and stampeded buffalo over a gigantic cliff.  You can eat buffalo burgers and other authentic native foods. You can join in – playing drums to dancing.  One of my sons couldn’t get enough and became very proficient in native dancing.  Then go a bit further west of Fort McLeod to another awesome sight – the Frank Slide, where settlers, not believing the natives, built a town below Shaky Mountain to their peril.

Waterton Lakes National Park

Waterton Lakes National Park

Then – somewhere in Crowsnest Pass– the Lost Lemon Mine.  My story Alberta Wild Rose centers around that fascinating legend. For anyone interested, that gold is still out there but beware the curse.  And I can’t forget Waterton/Glacier International Parks.  This is a park – partly in Montana (Glacier) and partly in Alberta (Waterton) – and the only ‘International Park’ in the world.

Moraine Lake in Banff National park

Moraine Lake in Banff National park

West of Calgary –  the gateway to the Rocky Mountains.  From Banff to Lake Louise – you don’t need introductions.  They are very famous places around the world.  Both are National Parks. Lake Louise is classified one of the seven natural wonders of the world.  Just outside Calgary I often took my children for a lunch wiener-roast over a campfire we tended ourselves by Elbow Falls.  They loved it and it was always an enjoyable time for me as well with the soothing sounds of water falling.

Lake Louise

Lake Louise

Lake Louise

The view inside the Chateau Lake Louise


Setting for Alberta Wild Rose

As I often helped my husband pack household goods when he was moving furniture companies often recruited my services during their busy June month end season.  My co-worker was the closest person I’ve ever met to be a genuine ‘mountain man‘.  His stories were fascinating and helped relief the strenuous, physical work of packing.

One day he told me the story of the Lost Lemon Mine – a cursed mine somewhere in the Crowsnest Pass in Alberta.  The ideas flowed non-stop.  We would discuss renting horses, taking a few months off and riding into the back country of the mountains and trying to find that gold.  It is reputed to have more gold than the Klondike of the Yukon held. The one drawback was anyone touching the gold was doomed to a bad end.  It spoke to me of danger and intrigue.

I searched bookstores and the library for all books pertaining to this legendary mine.  Back in the 1800’s Jack Lemon and his partner found the mine.  Unaware he was being watched by two natives, Jack proceeded to kill his partner and keep the gold for himself.  When the natives reported the incident to their chief, the chief believing the gold was evil placed a curse on anyone who found it.

Jack went back to Calgary to stake his claim.  Later his body was found, burned and charred.  As he had a map others came to find the gold.  Anyone who claimed to have found the gold either went mad or met with untimely deaths.

Is the mine real?  Is the gold cursed?  The questions poured inside until my romance – Alberta Wild Rose – was created.  To this day the mine intrigues me.

Publishing Companies and Guidelines

WRITING BY GUIDELINES 

5. Any story that only allows for one type of genre (such as comedy, drama, action, etc).

This was  in the list Sean gave for over-used story lines.  The predictable story in Genre writing could be a drawback to future readers.  Perhaps it is time to remove some of the necessary stories/characters that publishing companies require.  Does anyone else feel that genres might be stifling the creativity of writers?

Mainstream gives some flexibility but is often stifled by ‘content’ – although the rigid storyline might not be silented often the story-line might not be allowed – which brings many of my points in over-used story lines into play as well. 

This is a bit of advice when considering writing Genre. 

Always get a copy of the guidelines from the publishing company or companies you are targeting.  The publishing companies have a guideline of do’s and do not’s that might be a surprise – and they change.  So remember to get ‘up-to-date’ guidelines as well.  Some topics they don’t deal with might surprise you.

While they might accept a struggling heroine in Romance – she shouldn’t be homeless.  To have a hero as struggling – is not their type of hero. The hero is usually successful in his career as well as being older.

In Romance – although they accept certain types of musicians that is limited as well. It would be a lot of work to write about a Rap singer as an example – only to discover he was not an acceptable hero.  I was surprised to discover that sports weren’t accepted most places as well.  I would have thought that they would often fall into the category of a Romance hero.   He would be their ‘formula’ of a man who builds himself up – becomes wealthy and often keeps himself grounded as well. I don’t know if his age and wisdom comes into play.  Most sports figures are young.

My second suggestion would be not to have your characters just fall into bed with each other because they can’t control their physical attraction.  Although there are certain sub-genres even in Harlequin which often make me think I’m reading porn – and just as often I wonder if this is what the public wants and asking for today.  These types of books have been on the market a few years now – so I would assume there is a demand for them. This would be an example of changing guidelines.

Historical Romances are somewhat different – but I would still suggest you get the company’s guidelines.  I have been advised by companies they are not interested in Canadian content for example.  Canada, like every other country in the world, has some interesting history often like the USA – and even interesting history that has never been used in fiction writing.  I would think it would be something different – but I would be thinking wrong by publishing company standards.  I cannot begin to count the number of times I have been told that.

‘Boy meets girl in Winnipeg – and so what?’ was actually a line I read once – and so my ‘Hawk’s Gift’ was born.  The Riel Rebellion was a Civil War – not nearly as long or devastating as the American Civil War – but I’m sure to the people involved – it was disturbing for them.

In Canada there is a mine reputed to have as much gold as the gold found in the Yukon.  This mine – called the Lost Lemon Mine – is supposed to be in the Crowsnest Pass area of Alberta.  It is said that anyone touching the gold will suffer dire consequences.  The curse was put on by the Indian Tribes of southern Alberta.  And so my ‘Alberta Wild Rose’ was born.

Again, while researching I discovered a large group of Doukhobors migrated to Canada – then a few years later many of this group ‘cracked’ under the strain of hardships they suffered – and went marching across the barren prairies searching for Utopia – naked.  They called themselves the ‘Sons of Freedom’. At the same time Canada was fighting in a war – the Boer War in South Africa with the British.  As this was an unpopular war a British leader – Kitchener – decided to set up his soldiers for any imagined or unimagined slight – and feed them to the press to take the pressure off fighting the war.  There was also a man who decided to set up farmlands using only good English stock instead of foreigners.  This settlement failed as I imagine any successful farmer in England was content to continue farming in England.  When I combined all these fascinating incidents – ‘Paradise on the Horizon’ was born.

There was a point during my insecurities I thought of changing ‘locations’ to please the publishing companies.  Now, I am glad I didn’t. I have learned it is best to write what you love and what you enjoy rather than follow ‘guidelines’.

I will not take away from writer’s that do follow guidelines.  To me it is an example of our individualism. There are many ‘genre’ books I read and enjoy.  Just as there are times when the ‘accepted’ form is ignored by a writer and still published.

Good luck to all writer’s regardless of their preferences.